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Left Handers Club Newsletter – December 2013

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1. Eating left-handed

Using cutlery for eating is an area that causes a lot of confusion and inconsistency for both left- and right-handers:

Right-handers- traditionally eat with a knife and fork using the knife in their right and fork in the left, so they actually feed themselves with their left hand. (in America, some people change fork hand as they go along, cutting with their right then switching the fork into the right to lift the food to their mouth).
When they are using just a spoon, e.g. for eating soup, they change over and use it in their right hand, feeding themselves with that right hand.
When they are using just a knife, e.g. for cutting bread, they are consistent and keep it in their right hand.

Left-handers – we know from our own surveys that 74% of left-handers eat with a knife and fork in the “right-handed” way – with the fork in their left hand and feeding themselves with the left hand.
When they are using just a spoon, 95% use it in their LEFT hand for that as well, so we continue FEEDING ourselves with our dominant left hand.
When left-handers are using just a knife, e.g. for cutting bread, 88% move it into their left hand.

How does this happen?Eating left handed

It makes sense to use your dominant hand, the one that gives you most control, for delicate and complicated tasks, like cutting something with a knife. When the knife is used on its own, like cutting bread, this all works as expected with left-handers using the bread knife ion their dominant left and right-handers using the right.

But when we complicate it by using a second tool, like a fork, it all gets inconsistent! Right-handers think the knife is the most important tool and keep it in their right hand, while left-handers switch the knife to their right and think that the feeding tool, the fork, is the more important and deserves the use of their dominant hand.

How do we choose which way round to eat?

Is there some inbuilt preference for eating, like writing, or do we learn it from our parents? is the high percentage of left-handers who eat “right-handed” because they just copy their parents? (around 75% of left-handers have two right-handed parents and only 2% have two left-handed parents).

Eating left handed with a spoonOur own experience would strongly say no! Keith and Lauren are both left-handed but eat “right-handed” and their son Tom is the same. So when daughter katie came along and turned out to be RIGHT-handed despite all the family genetics and influence, which way would she eat? Would she do what is normal for a right-hander AND the same as the rest of the family? NO! – she has always eaten LEFT-HANDED.

So we really don't know the cause of eating choices and it does seem to be completely inconsistent overall, though very strongly embedded in each individual, seemingly just as much as writing. We have had some email correspondence recently with LHC member Catherine that makes this very clear:

Catherine originally posted a comment on our website saying:
“My son (nearly 8), is mostly right-handed, but eats with his knife and fork the left-handed way. I have recently found out that they are forcing him to eat the ‘correct’ way at school meal times. I was shocked and outraged, but they claim that it is for his own good…. Do you have any evidence of this being harmful to a child (in the same way that forcing a change in writing handedness can be)? He complains of tiredness and headaches, and has started developing a stammer and tics. He is also highly uncoordinated and regularly spills food down clothes when eating this way. I want to force the school to stop, so need some supporting evidence. Please help!”

Keith replied:
The symptoms you mention ARE similar to those that can arise from changing writing hand and while I have not seen any research or evidence about changing eating hands I guess it comes to the same thing. It may also just be that he is stressed from being pressurised by his teachers and that is causing the problems rather than anything to do with brain function”. I would definitely advise letting him eat whichever way seems most comfortable to him. It will be very interesting to see if his symptoms go away when he is allowed to go back to eating his normal way.

and we recently received a wonderful follow-up from Catherine:
Thank you so much for emailing me. Since all this happened, we have told our son to eat with whichever hand he feels most comfortable holding his fork in, and his tics / stammer have all but gone. He is calm and unstressed now. However, the school are not happy about this and claim that eating with your cutlery the ‘right way round' is part of their social development programme. We are actively trying to dispute this and any thoughts you have about this or any research or supporting evidence would be most welcome.

We would be very interested in your experience of changing eating hands and any effect it had so please use this link to add your comments to the online version of this article here.

2. Christmas gift ideas

Discount code extended! Get £5 discount (8.00 USD) on all orders over £20 until Saturday 7 December. Just enter coupon code LHCXM into our shopping cart after adding your products to see the discount calculated. 5 pounds discount

We have just taken delivery of some new products that would make great gifts:

Left handed Original Fish corkscrew Left Handed Original Fish CorkscrewThis classic 1920s design was re-made in a fully left-handed version with anti-clockwise action to make it easy for lefthanders to open wine bottles. The shiny aqua blue and polished steel look great and will make an attractive bar decoration as well as being for to leave around to confuse right-handers!
Order your left-handed Original Fish corkscrew
Minnow corkscrew Left Handed Minnow CorkscrewThis smaller version of the fish corkscrew is in the “Waiter” style with fold out anti-clockwise screw, pulling lever and foil cutter. The dark blue lacquer and polished steel finish will look great on any bar area.
Order your Left-Handed Minnow Corkscrew
Left handed fountain pen Stabilo Easy Original Left Handed Pen in New Metallic StylesThis hugely popular ergonomic pen has left-handed finger and thumb indents to encourage the perfect writing grip, a smooth flowing rollerball tip and fast-drying ink to help stop smudging. Now in two great new colour combinations with a metallic finish plastic body. These limited edition versions include a Stabilo ColorKilla ink eraser pen in the price.
Order your left-handed Stabilo Easy Original pen

And if you are stuck for present ideas, don't forget to have a look at our range of Essentials Sets

Adult Sets
Children's Sets
Left handers basic essentials
Left handed childrens sets
3. Last order dates for Christmas delivery

Make sure you place your orders for any gifts in plenty of time!

Last dates for orders to be completed on our website for delivery before Christmas Day 2013 (Royal Mail advice – we cannot be sure of their service)
United Kingdom 09.00 am UK time on Friday 20th December
Western Europe 09.00 am UK time on Friday 13th December
USA, Canada, Eastern Europe 09.00 am UK time Monday 9th December
Rest of World – South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Far East, Asia, Japan, New Zealand and Australia 09.00 am UK time Wednesday 4th December

We will continue despatching orders until Monday 23 December so all orders placed on our website up to 09:00 AM UK time on 23 December will be despatched before our Christmas break, but we cannot be sure of delivery before Christmas. After that our warehouse will be closed for the holidays and stock-taking and the next despatch day will be Thursday 2nd January 2014.

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3 comments on “LHC NL December 2013
  1. Mani Thangadurai says:

    I had also posted a comment on this issue not too long back where I said that since the level of dexterity required is more for finer skills like cutting, it’s important to hold the knife in your dominant hand because it makes more sense that way. Especially if you’re eating a steak or a thick cut of meat, a clean and effortless cut is critical. There is NO WAY you would be able to use your non-dominant hand to cut something effortlessly. In contrast, sticking a fork into a morsel of food and taking it to your mouth or using it to scoop food into your mouth doesn’t require that much effort.

    It goes without saying that if my child or children were left-handed, I would encourage them to eat with the fork in their right hand in order to ensure that their stronger hand will be in control of the knife. Simple as that.

  2. LHNeuman says:

    Are you aware of any research and results on what is the difference among three groups consisting of all lefthanders, all right handers and mixed on process and outcomes in the same task completion?

  3. Nigel Meddemmen says:

    Your feature on eating has really bought back some memories, like you I eat right handed when using a knife and fork but left handed with a spoon. It gets a little tricky when presented with a spoon and fork to eat your dessert, something the headmaster at my secondary school tried to enforce to teach us a supposedly higher standard of dining etiquette. Being forced to use a spoon and fork when you are used to holding both in your left hand was mighty confusing for someone at my tender age!

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